PARIS (MNI) – Eurozone consumer sentiment unexpectedly eroded in
December after six months of improvement, according to the flash
estimate released Monday by the European Commission.

After a steady rise from the recent low of -17.8 at the outset of
the Eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis in May, the sentiment index fell
back 1.6 points to -11.0, retracing two months of gains. The long-term
average is -12.5. Most analysts had expected a further modest rise.

November’s 1.5-point gain reflected growing optimism about the
overall economy and a marked drop of unemployment fears in Germany. With
their financial situation improving and hopes for further gains,
households said they were spending more for big-ticket items and
expected to do so over the coming year as well, although the latter
component remained well below average everywhere except in Germany and

The definitive figure for December should be released on January 6
as a component of the Commission’s comprehensive economic sentiment

–Paris newsroom +331 4271 5540; e-mail: